State health department proposes experimental home jabs for the bed-ridden: Affidavit in PIL | India News

MUMBAI: Maharashtra health department informed Bombay high court in an affidavit that it “desires to propose home vaccination on experimental basis’’ based on guidelines framed by its Covid taskforce, for those certified by a doctor to be “truly immobile and bedridden.”
It will come with five “mandatory conditions”, one being that the ‘family or treating doctor’ must also certify that the home jab beneficiary would have no adverse reactions after immunization (AEFI) and if she or he does have, such doctor would be “entirely responsible’’ to treat it.
The affidavit filed on June 28 said that the Public health department proposal will be submitted to the State government for its decision on it. Once the state approves the proposal for such experimental ‘home vaccination’, it would be sent to the Central government for its approval in view of the advisory issued by the Centre on vaccination policy.
The other two mandatory conditions would include “written consent’’ to be provided by a family member and to avoid vaccine wastage at least 10 concerned beneficiaries shall be made mandatorily available in close proximity as one vial contains 10 doses of vaccine.’’
The state said the National Expert Group on Vaccination Administration (NEGVAC) set up by the Central health ministry had negated door-to-door jabs to the elderly and bedridden at present. The Centre had on May 27 advised ‘near to home’ vaccination instead. The State said presently it does not have any door-to-door vaccination policy.
The affidavit was filed by Dr D N Patil, deputy director, State Family Welfare Bureau, Pune on behalf of the State, Public Health department, in response to a June 22 order of the HC in a PIL filed early April by advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari for ‘door-to-door vaccination for the elderly, specially-abled and bed-ridden persons.
The state public health department, said, due to six reasons, it was not implementing any door-to-door vaccination presently. Among the reasons was Centre and State’s concern over any AEFI, a “well known risk’’. The affidavit said even though the AEFI risk may be small, some people may face serious even ‘fatal anaphylactic (severe, potentially life threatening) reaction’.
It added that in a hospital/clinic setting there is trained manpower as well as medicines available to treat such adverse reasons including supply of oxygen which is not possible or very difficult when a vaccinator visits home to vaccinate a homebound or bed-ridden person.
Apart from the AEFI concerns, cold-chain protocol compliance and “limited manpower” would mean ‘home vaccination may become an impediment for smooth delivery of health care’ as health staff would have “to wait for 30 minute at each home, which is not feasible.’’
The other reasons cited by the state for not going on at present with door-step jabs is “acute shortage of doctors in public and private health system’’. Presence of doctors is a must, but cannot be ensured if there is a “sizeable’’ demand for home vaccination.
The State Covid task force had last week framed draft guidelines for home vaccination and had sought time on June 22 from the HC to finalise it. The HC granting time had said the task force was proceeding in a positive direction.
“We however leave it to the wisdom of Taskforce” to include such provisions as are beneficial to the interests of elderly and bedridden, the bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni had said in its June 22 order.
The HC is scheduled to hear the PIL on Tuesday.

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